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Incoming White House Chief-of-Staff Rahm Emanuel leaves a meeting with Senate Republicans on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., after seeking support for releasing the second $350 billion of bailout money January 14, 2009. - 


Scott Jagow: The Senate votes today on whether to release the second half of the $700 billion bailout. Democrats are a little nervous because there is some opposition. The first $350 billion wasn't exactly handled with extreme care. Obama promises the second half will only go to financial companies and people facing foreclosure. But Congress might make sure of that beforehand this time. John Dimsdale reports from Washington.

John Dimsdale: Lawmakers have criticized the Treasury Department for not holding banks accountable for what's become of the bailout money and for changing strategies mid-stream.

Louisiana Republican Senator David Vitter is sponsoring a bill that would prevent the Department from getting the remaining $350 billion.

Senator David Vitter: TARP has really devolved into a slush fund for the administration to do whatever it wants to given the circumstances any week.

If he can't get 51 votes to disallow the funds, the Obama administration can spend TARP money, just as the Bush administration did -- with few restrictions.

But the House today will vote on a separate bill sponsored by Massachusetts Democrat Barney Frank to require more bank disclosure.

Rep. Barney Frank: Now I believe the Obama administration will do this better than the Bush administration. But I want to go more than simply believing that.

Frank says it's important to make the safeguards official.

In Washington, I'm John Dimsdale for Marketplace.